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US’ Kushner: Saudi will benefit from relations with Israel

US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner claims it would be in Saudi Arabia’s economic interest to normalize ties with Israel as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has agreed to do.

“It would be very good for Saudi business, it would very good for Saudi’s defense, and, quite frankly, I think it would also help the Palestinian people,” said Kushner.

The UAE and Israel announced a US-brokered peace deal last week which would see the two establish diplomatic, trade and commercial ties.

According to the agreement, Israel would halt its plans to annex portions of the West Bank from Palestinians, although Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said the plans remained “on the table”.

“Israel has agreed with us that they will not move forward [with annexation] without our consent,” Kushner said. “We do not plan to give our consent for some time.”

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Kushner added Arab states normalizing ties with Israel would also weaken Iran’s regional influence.

The deal, brokered with US help, firms up opposition to regional power Iran.

“If you think about the people who don’t want Saudi Arabia and Israel to make a peace agreement, the number one opponent for that is going to be Iran,” said Kushner.

“That shows that is probably the right thing to do.”

Palestinians denounced the Israel-UAE deal, while Gulf nations Oman and Bahrain praised the deal. Saudi has remained silent on the matter though it has been reported that deals being drawn up will see flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv using Saudi air space.

Kushner said Abu Dhabi’s move gave the Palestinians a chance to seek a negotiated solution with Israel. “The ball is really in the court of the Palestinians now,” he said.